Interview: Lyle Music
Mr. Malcolm Brown, also known as LyleMusic, is a Vocaloid composer like many others here. His works have a celtic touch and he mixes them with technology by using primarily VOCALOID Miriam. What is truly amazing is that, he´s not only that talented, he makes Jazz, Classic and Celtic music and he´s also 61 years old, which makes him the eldest Vocaloid composer we have ever seen or known.
In this brief time I spoke to him, Malcolm seems to be a very gentle and helpful man. His interest in music has capture the heart of many people over vocaloid community, here is a bit more about him:
Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?
After a long and enjoyable career at Sea and in business, I retired to a small island off the South Coast of England, called the Isle of Wight. This island is very beautiful, with a slow pace of life that suits me perfectly!
Continue reading to know more about this interesting musician!
When did you start in music?
The answer to this question might appear a little surprising for a ‘composer’ of my age, but the answer is 2004. Having retired, I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to fill my day by just digging the garden and painting the house! So I needed another activity. For reasons that escape me, I decided to start writing music. As I had no musical training and could not play any instrument, this decision could hardly be classed as logical! I bought a small paperback book on the fundamentals of music and a piece of software called “Cakewalk (now Sonar) Home Studio”. And became a composer! Of course at that stage, a very bad one! Whether I have improved a little since then, only you can judge!
When I started to write pieces of music which were good enough (or at least I thought so!) to publish on the net, I started a page at Soundclick.com. I quickly found that the page was becoming unmanageable with so many pieces of music in so many genres from Jazz to Easy Listening, Classical, Celtic and New Age. I needed to split the pieces into two sections. I therefore needed a second ‘name’ for a separate Soundclick page for the Celtic and New Age music. My Celtic ancestry comes from my Mother’s side where her Father was Irish and her Mother Scottish. Her Mother’s Scottish family name was Lyle. LyleMusic therefore seemed appropriate for the new Celtic / New Age Soundclick page and for my videos at Youtube.
When did I come in contact with Vocaloid?
After several years of trying to write music, I realised I needed some way of adding vocals. As I did not know anyone who could sing and my own voice being worse than an alley cat, I searched around and found East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Choirs. This has the facility similar to Vocaloid where you can add words to notes and the choir will sing the words. It is an excellent software package but obviously is really only suitable for symphonic music. So I needed something that would work with Celtic music and Jazz. In May of this year I again searched the net and found Vocaloid.
Why did you choose Vocaloid Miriam to work with?
I tried all the samples at the Vocaloid web site for all the available singers. Of them all, I felt that Miriam’s voice was the best for the sort of music I was writing. I had also previously heard Miriam Stockley singing on the Karl Jenkins’ CD Adiemus and loved her singing. I hope one day she will forgive me for what I do to her lovely voice!
Are you aware of other Vocaloids?
As I mentioned above, I have listened to them all and it is possible that I may purchase other vocaloids in the future. But for the moment, I have enough to do to learn to use Miriam properly!
What do you use to make music?
My main tool is Sonar Home Studio 7 XL (this has now been replaced by Sonar X1 Essential). I personally cannot praise this software too highly. The huge range of music creation facilities in this software is outstanding, particularly as this is the basic version of the Sonar range. Although I will upgrade to the larger versions of Sonar one day, for the moment this software is more than enough for me. I write all my music by notation in Home Studio ‘Staff View’ which, while not a full notation facility, has enough capability to meet my needs.
For my instruments, I use ‘Soft Synths’. Primarily Garritan Personal Orchestra and Vienna Symphonic Library. Both provide an excellent range of orchestral instruments which work in many genres from Jazz to Classical. I also particularly like the free Dizi and Erhu Soft Synth VSTs from Kong Audio which I highly recommend. Once I have finished a piece and produced the sound file, I use Audacity to add any final polish.
The only other point I would make is the importance of a top quality sound card for your computer. I have tried a large number of different makes of sound card and currently use a Marian Marc 4 Midi card. It is excellent.
What inspires you for your creations?
This is a hugely difficult question to answer. Sometimes I hear a few notes in my mind or a few words that suggests a tune. Other times I may be walking the hills on my lovely Isle and an idea comes out of nowhere. Other times, I just sit at the computer and write music until something appears that I like. I can go for weeks at a time and have no inspiration, while at other times I cannot write my ideas down quickly enough!
I have often wondered why inspiration comes and goes as it does and at least for me, I believe the answer lies in my Celtic ancestry. Ancient Celts and those today who follow their ancient traditions and beliefs as I do, talk of the “Awen”. In ancient days, there were Celtic Bards. This was a title which was only gained by a very few after rigorous training and many decades of practice and exams. Bards were expert poets and musicians who travelled the country from the Royal Courts of Kings to the humble dwellings of peasants, reciting the history of the people in poems and songs. To become a Bard, you had to find the “Awen”.
The word Awen in the Gaelic language means “inspiration,” or “essence”. The Celts believed the Awen was the life essence of the natural world which flows constantly around and through us and is the source of spiritual strength and poetic inspiration. I believe they were right and to gain poetic and musical inspiration, you just need to open your mind to the world about you and you will find it. But it is definitely not easy!
What are your plans for the future?
Plans? When you reach my age, it can be a little rash to make too many plans! Perhaps it is best to just wait and see what each new day brings. As I have no interest in making money from my music, I have no plans for CDs or writing Film Scores. My music is and always will be free on the internet for anyone who would like to listen. I know my music is played on local FM and internet Radio Stations around the world, has been used for weddings and Celtic Handfastings and apparently there is even a Celtic Harpist who wanders around Europe singing some of my songs! I am grateful to them all. Frankly, if for a fleeting moment you bring a little pleasure to just one person’s life, then that has been a very good day.